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Trying to sell promo?

Be a Product of the Product

4/12/2023 | Charity Gibson, The Right Stuff

In the last article I shared my advice on helping you get started in sales and discussed prospecting. We ended by teasing about how to find the perfect self promo. Today i’m going to help you do just that!


In every talk that I give, in pretty much every article that I write, the topic of using Promotional Products to sell Promotional Products comes up.  Why do I find the need to talk about this so often?


So many people that I talk to start out prospecting by making phone calls and sending emails. Often they are met with frustration that results are not being seen as quickly as they had hoped. A number of years ago when I was just starting out on my own, after working for a company and finding a lot of success, I was working with a mentor. He asked me what I was doing to prospects for new business and I said, “First, I create a list of target accounts I want to reach and make a family tree of the important people that I needed to reach out to. Then I start making calls and sending followup immediately and again two weeks and 30 days later.” 


He asked how that was working out for me and I told him I wouldn’t be in front of him if I was finding the level of success I was looking for! He laughed and then asked me a very important question.  He said, “Ok. So let me ask you this. When a new client comes to you and says they want to build their business and asks you what you suggest for them, what do you tell them?”


I started on with my process. “Initially, we sit down together on a phone call. I have a questionnaire that I go through with them that asks what story they want to tell, to whom will these promotional products be given and for what purpose, what action they would like people to take once the recipients have these product in hand, and what do they want to be done with these products once the action has been taken. We review the answers and then I pull together products that fit the answers to their questions - selecting the right products to tell their unique story for the specific demographic of people they want to reach, and add an imprint with a memorable saying that will help ensure the products are kept and used.” 


He then proceeded to ask me the first question again.  “Great.  And how are you prospecting for me business again?” I repeated my process of making a call and sending up a followup email. He then again asked my process for helping a prospect or client that calls needing help with prospecting.   At this point I said, “Paul.  Are you not listening?” He said, “Are YOU not listening?”  You’re telling me you’re frustrated not seeing the results you are hoping to see building and promotional products business using emails and phone calls. You are calling people trying to tell them that the best way to build a business is by using what you sell and you’re not even using what you sell yourself. You are not calling these people telling them that emails and phone calls help them build their business. You’re trying to connect with them to tell them promotional products will help them build their business - so why aren’t you using promo to sell promo?” 


When I tell you I have never had a bigger lightbulb moment in my life!


Every day I’d go get a shake at the nutrition club and the pin the girl wore at the counter (yes a promotional product) said “Be a product of the product.” This is the same darn thing!  Don’t tell. Show.  If we want people to believe in us and our medium, we need to be our own best case study.  Instead of phone calls and emails, start by using the product to build your business and stand out from your competitors. 


So how do you pick the right products to promote yourself and your business? Hint: It’s not by picking what’s free or on sale. It’s about finding what makes sense for you.  Start by asking yourself the questions I listed above (and suppliers - this is for you too!!):


  • What is my story? How did I get here? What makes me different than anyone else?

  • Who do I want to do business with? Men, women, younger, older, and in what industries?

  • What message do I want to send?

  • How will these products be delivered?

  • What action do I want people to take when they receive these products?

  • Where will these products be in a year or five years?

  • How will I determine whether or not I’m successful with this campaign?


When you answer these questions of what story, to who, and for what purpose, the idea or what products with what decoration/printing starts to answer themselves. And, guess what - you can use this formula for helping your clients too!


Your challenge is to take 30 minutes today, right now, to answer these questions for yourself and then come up with your plan to use promo to sell promo and become and expert at being a product of the product. I also suggest printing these questions out and sending them to your clients every so often when new projects come up. You’ll be more memorable, and you’ll soon start to see your clients buying better quality products that have a much higher return on their investment, and more of them!


Next time we talk you’ll have people pounding down the door to do business with you so we’ll talk about finding products/product search and how to find what you’re looking for more quickly, as well as tips and tricks for building customized presentations at the speed of light…er… promo…to help you make more money in less time. Kachow ??


Charity Gibson is a National Account Manager at Peerless, the founder/owner of Green Banana Social, an OG chef of industry non-profit PromoKitchen, and host of the Badass Women of Promo Podcast.  When she's not playing the role of Charity Poppins for Peerless, she spends time mentoring and educating industry colleagues on all things brand and marketing, consulting, and creating content for her contract clients. Outside of promo she enjoys traveling - especially to places near water - and spending time with her kids and adorable rescue pup, Whiskey.  

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